Edmodo & Challenge Based Learning
Posted by: Edmodo
Student PLNs with Liz!
Although many of you are done with your school year and ready to relax and enjoy your well-deserved vacation, I know that summer break doesn’t stop you from planning or thinking about the great ideas you will implement next school year. For many of us, summer is not only a time to take a break, but also a time to be able to reflect, learn new things, and plan meaningful learning opportunities that we can use with our students. This week, I’d like to share one of the most valuable learning experiences that my students had this year. I hope that it will invoke some ideas that you can ponder over this summer break and perhaps implement with your students in the Fall.
A couple of weeks ago Bianca wrote about how Edmodo and PBL’s go together. This week I’d like to add on to her wonderful thoughts and express how Edmodo has been a key to the success of implementing Challenge Based Learning (CBL) with my students this year. For those of you who may not be familiar with CBL, it is a framework that provides students an opportunity to use critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems. It is similar to Problem or Project Based Learning, however, it really focuses the learning on the process rather than the product and uses a multidisciplinary approach to foster collaboration, integrate technology, and create a connection with the community.
In the CBL framework, students are first posed with a challenge that needs to be solved. It is a completely student driven process where they begin by creating guiding questions, activities, and resources that will lead them to a meaningful and measurable solution. All of their research and solution implementation is measured, documented, and analyzed. The process naturally integrates various content area standards. I highly encourage you to learn more about CBL by visiting the CBL website. You can also learn more from the webinar found at the bottom of this page that explains CBL in detail.
This year we challenged our students to “E Malama ‘Aina,” which in Hawaiian means to “Take Care of the Land.” You can check out our team’s challenge, proposal video, and sample student solution videos. We planned this as an interdisciplinary challenge that incorporated English, science, math, social studies, and health standards. Students worked in groups to identify, research, and solve a real problem related to sustainability in their school, home, or community. Throughout the process, students worked with their families and teachers and some groups collaborated with government officials and other community members to complete their research and implement their solution. This process took about 4 months for the students to complete. Face-to-face meeting time was limited so most of their time was spent meeting virtually with their groups and project advisors.
Our integration of Edmodo into the CBL process was instrumental in helping our students to be successful. We were able to use the small group feature to provide each group a place to communicate and share documents throughout the process. It was especially helpful since they could share all types of file formats (video, audio, spreadsheets, forms, and pictures). All of these were important parts in the process and made collaboration run smoothly. In addition, each project advisor depended on Edmodo for the groups to communicate their questions and submit documentation of their process. It also helped us to track individual and group progress and offer help to students when needed. Although we didn’t necessarily meet face-to-face with our groups on a weekly basis, we were able to offer feedback and check on how they were doing through Edmodo.
Overall, students reported that they were thankful for having Edmodo to help them through their challenge and credited this tool as essential to the CBL process. At the end of the CBL experience, students also used Edmodo to share their final solution videos and both students and teachers were able to comment on their success.
I’d love to get your feedback on what you think about CBL and how Edmodo or other web 2.0 tools have helped your students solve similar challenges.
Until next time…Aloha!